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Crohn's MAP Vaccine June 2015 Update
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Welcome

Research update

The Vaccine:

The Vaccine is currently in the pre-GMP phase of manufacture at the Jenner Institute, Oxford (link ) and is progressing well. Contracts are currently being drawn up between the Jenner Institute and HAV Vaccines Ltd (HVL) for the GMP phase of manufacture which is expected to start in Oct-Nov 2015. Sufficient investment funds have now been raised by HVL to cover the cost of both GMP manufacture and Phase 1 trials. Funding for Phase 2 trials is still being sought; any individuals or companies interested in investing in HVL should contact their Corporate Director, Michael Stallibrass: stalli@hav-vaccines.com

The new MAP test:

In January 2015, work on optimising the blood test format of the new MAP test began in earnest, with the addition of senior technician Barry Hudspith to the KCL research team. Work had been progressing very well until just before Easter, disaster struck in the lab: The machine used to run MAP blood test - called a Flow Cytometer - crashed and on assessment by experts was found to be irreparable. It was a 9 year old machine and approaching the end of its lifespan but had been expected to be adequate to see the project through to its conclusion. Hence the purchase of a new Flow Cytometer - at a cost of £50,000 - was not included in the research budget.

The long-term plan for the funding of this project can be viewed here. Until a new one can be bought, work on the MAP blood test is on hold.

Work on the tissue format of the MAP test is unaffected and indeed is ‘full-steam ahead’. The company manufacturing the 4 final reagents for the test have sent us their schedule for finalisation of the remaining 3 reagents – these are expected to arrive in the lab over the period July-Sept 2015.The company will supply several ‘candidate reagents’ for each of the 3,  from which the best will be selected in the lab at KCL. This involves a large body of work so we are delighted that Prof. Hermon-Taylor, Neil and Barry will be teaming up with a new collaborator in Oxford. Not only does this mean that the work will be done faster but also provides a valuable opportunity to demonstrate that the test works just as well in the hands of another research team, in another lab, giving consistent reproducible results.  

Fundraising update

This news has come at a time when we should be celebrating the achievement of 2nd milestone of raising £120K by the end of May... in fact we reached it on 20th April, a whole 6 weeks early! So a massive THANK YOU AND WELL DONE to all our fundraisers and donors!

As a team, we have put our heads together to tackle the problem of the Flow Cytometer. Borrowing one in another institute costs £100/day and would be logistically impractical as the machine is needed on a daily basis. So we have decided to launch our FLOW CYTOMETER EMERGENCY APPEAL to raise £50,000 to buy a new machine (example pictured below):

This appeal is different in that a new Flow Cytometer would not only benefit our project but would be a lasting legacy to KCL even after our project is complete (N.B. A Flow Cytometer is a key instrument, widely used in many areas of medical research).

Amy and Helen from the CMV team met with the leadership team of Crohn’s and Colitis UK on 17th April to discuss the possibility of their supporting our appeal.

Amy reports: ‘We were delighted to have the opportunity to meet with David Barker, Helen Terry and Dan McLean from Crohn’s and Colitis UK. The meeting was very positive: the team found my presentation of the latest science in the MAP field very interesting and Helen and I were equally impressed by what we learned about the excellent work of Crohn’s and Colitis UK. In particular, it was great to hear that the charity increased their research funding to >£700K last year (divided between medical research and living with IBD research) and that they plan to increase this further by 2018 (for more info click here)  Like many other charities, Crohn’s and Colitis UK operate a peer-reviewed grant funding programme whereby they allocate awards on an annual basis. However, I’m delighted to let you know that they can make a donation of £15,000 specifically towards our Flow Cytometer Emergency Appeal, thanks to a special fund that their Ambassador Rick Parfitt Jnr supports. We came away with very good will on both sides, new bridges built, a commitment to keep in touch regarding the science and the hope of working together more closely in future.’

As a team, we would like to offer our sincere thanks to Crohn’s and Colitis UK and to Rick Parfitt Jnr for their fantastic support.

How you could help:

If you would like to make a donation you can visit our Flow Cytometer Emergency Appeal Justgiving page.

We will also be approaching other Crohn’s charities, companies, foundations, charitable trusts and individuals to support our Flow Cytometer Emergency Appeal. Do you know an organisation that might support us? Write to them on our behalf, enclosing a copy of our Appeal Letter which you can download here.

Past Events

Glitz & Giggles Gala: 

A Crohn's Vaccine Benefit was held on April 24th in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA).  Approximately 175 people were in attendance including people from 7 different states!  Jenny Ginther shared the story of her journey with Crohn's Disease, her success treating MAP with a triple antibiotic therapy, and information about the vaccine.  The evening also included guest speaker Dr. Christopher Foley of MN Natural Medicine, a Las Vegas Lady Gaga impersonator, live music and dancing, heavy appetizer buffet, cash bar, and a silent auction.  The highlight of the evening was when Lady Gaga live auctioned off a Maserati for the weekend with a representative from the car dealership, who then threw in a second Maserati.  The excitement in the air that night was electric.  The guests had a blast raising $14,969 (£9800) for the Crohn's MAP Vaccine and Test!
Watch Jenny's video.


Future Events

International Research Symposium: Game Changing Concepts in Crohn's Medicine

Sunday, August 16 at 2:00pm - 4:00pm
in CDT Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim,
1201 Lake Cook Rd, Deerfield, Illinois 60015
Speakers will include

  • Dr William Chamberlin (NM, USA)
  • Dr John Aitken (New Zealand)
  • Dr Mike Collins (WI, USA) 
  • Dr Amy Hermon-Taylor (UK)

Useful links

If anyone would like more detail about the fundraising structure of this project, please click here.
For our scientific ‘Core Literature pack’ please click here.

Publication date of next issue: 01.09.2015

If anyone has held an event in aid of our research, big or small, recent or some time past, we would love to hear about it!! If you’d like us to include an article on your event, please send us a summary (<150 words) and any pictures or video links you would like us to include with the article. Similarly, if you have an event upcoming, please send us the details.

The deadline for submission for the next newsletter is 04.08.2015.

We know of no other charity like this. We are determined to bring an end to Crohn’s.

Please continue to help us.

Thank you
The Crohn’s MAP Vaccine team

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